Americans lose between $40 and $50 Billion every year to investment fraud.
Additionally, up to 17 percent of the U.S. adult population falls prey to some form of investment scam in any given year.
A significant part of financial success involves risk-taking. Therefore, when one is presented with a proposition that is lucrative yet does not seem like the stereotypical scam, they are more than likely to consider it.
While some deals are legitimate, some are frauds, unfortunately. Do you think you could be the victim of investment fraud?
This article will lay bare the most common warning signs and what to do if you’re a victim.
1. You Were Dealing With a Random Company
If the company you decided to invest in contacted you out of the blue to give you their proposition; that should have been the first give away of a potential scam.
Any time a random company contacts you – whether online, via the phone, or face to face -, always go online to check their authenticity.
2. You Have Been Rejected for Credit
If you typically have good credit, then you start getting rejected out of the blue, chances are your identity is being assumed and they are using it to finance their nefarious needs.
Part of involvement in any type of investment often involves giving the company your financial information. While this information is very personal, a legitimate company cannot steal from you since they have a lot to lose if you sue.
This is why fraudsters pose like legitimate business people. With that information, they can do just about anything. If you notice strange patterns in your credit file, chances are you are a victim of fraud.
3. You Are Being Rushed
A legitimate company will never rush you into making a decision, hand over personal information, or give you an unreasonable deadline within which you should fork out your money.
Fraudsters usually instill a sense of urgency to their deals so that you do not have the time to think it through.
If that happened to you, and you obliged, there is a good possibility you were dealing with scammers.
4. Your Bank Asked You for Personal Information
Banks will never call you to ask for your PIN or passwords. Thus, if you received a call from a person claiming to be from your bank asking for such information, they were fraudsters.
5. Bad Grammar in Email or Letter
If the letter or email that the individuals contacted you with had a significant amount of spelling and grammatical errors, it should have raised your suspicions.
Any legitimate company invests in professional writing services to ensure that their emails and letters are well-written and proofread.
A fraudster, on the other hand, might not be that thorough. Additionally, they might not be from within the country, thus English might not be their first language.
6. Websites Lacking Secure Links
Scammers go out of their way to pose as legitimate companies. As such, they might have professional-looking websites, complete with official logos. This could easily be duplicate home pages of actual companies.
To establish whether a website is legitimate, check to see if it has a secure link. This is usually symbolized by a padlock on the browser.
If the site you were directed to wasn’t secure, you were likely dealing with fraudsters.
What to If You Are a Victim of Investment Fraud
If you have fallen prey to investment fraud, you will need to contact a number of bodies to get help. These include:
Fraud is a criminal act. As such, you need to immediately notify law enforcement upon realizing you have been conned. This will allow you to get a police report, which could possibly help you to get your money back.
Additionally, it allows law enforcement to begin their investigations while the case is still fresh.
Your Financial Institutions
If you provided the rogue investing expert with your bank information, you need to contact the bank or any other relevant financial institution immediately. This will prevent the fraudster from accessing your funds.
The bank will work with you to determine the best course of action. This could involve stopping any payments, rescinding a wire transfer, as well as getting you a new account number.
If the individuals were able to get your personal identifying information (date of birth, social security number, etc.), you will have to contact the credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
This reduces the risk of the fraudster using your information to obtain new lines of credit.
Social Security Administration
If they have your social security number, contact the SSA by calling 1-800-772-1213. This will prevent you from being linked to any activities that the fraudster might use with your number.
The Business or Agency
If the individual used the identity of a legitimate business or government agency, ensure that you contact those entities as well.
These organizations are usually the last to find out that their names and reputations are being used to scam people.
Nonetheless, there is little the organization can do to help your case if it is determined that the scammer used a proxy site.
However, notifying them will allow them to help others from falling prey to the scam by posting a warning on their website.
An Investment Fraud Lawyer
If you were connived into believing that your investment would yield certain returns, then it fell through, you should consider getting a lawyer. You should never be lied to about the reality of an investment.
An attorney will help prove that you were conned so that you get the justice you deserve.
Getting scammed by anonymous people on the internet is arguably understandable.
However, getting scammed by a financial advisor is something that one does not expect. This happens a lot; 492 advisors were barred from operating in 2017, and another 733 were suspended.
In case you have incurred losses due to investment fraud resulting from the actions of an advisor or broker, you have the right to sue.
The Doss Firm has a track record of helping fraud victims recover their losses. With over 45 years of combined experience, our lawyers will work with you to help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.
Jason Doss is the owner of The Doss Firm, LLC, an Atlanta-based law firm devoted to representing consumers across the country in a variety of areas including investment disputes and consumer class action litigation. Mr. Doss earned his J.D. from Florida State University in 2002 and his B.A. from the University of Florida in 1997.